5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 C Biogon, Leica M6 and T-Max400 at EI400 – by Phil Harrison

June 14, 2020

The lockdown has given people plenty of opportunity to buy stuff they can’t afford and don’t really need, I know, I’m one of them. I’d been thinking about replacing the 7Artisan 35mm f2. This lens is tremendous value for money, but in the long term I want a lens with better control over edge sharpness and flare.

A while back when I had the M9 then M240 I used the Zeiss 35mm C-Biogon as my main lens and it was superb, to my mind. A lot of water, waste plastic and shopping trolleys have gone under the bridge since then, ’twas time to get another. Luckily there was a minter on eBay.

Clearly the lens needed immediate testing on arrival but what to photograph. I live near the centre of Rochdale, a great place to pass through. It has a few mildly interesting buildings and at the moment is like a ghost town. I could go on my official exercise walks with the camera.

So I did. With the M6 loaded with T-Max 400 and a Heliopan yellow filter and lovely sunny weather with blue skies, I set off on my walks. Trying to get interesting photos was going to be a challenge in Rochdale, what I got are technically nice but not particularly enthralling.

I live near the old C of E church called St Chads, You can see Chad above the door.

I live near the old C of E church called St Chads, You can see Chad above the door.

Years ago town corporations and wealthy toffs liked to show off with huge fancy town halls and Rochdale's certainly does that.

Years ago town corporations and wealthy toffs liked to show off with huge fancy town halls and Rochdale’s certainly does that.

The one thing that Rochdale does have of interest is the first Co-operative shop, now a museum.

The one thing that Rochdale does have of interest is the first Co-operative shop, now a museum.

The main street has recessed into a street full of charity shops, pound shops and pawnbrokers, however the council have built a new town centre consisting of one small street with a cinema and some shops with the intention of revitalising the towns fortunes. Notice how the photos are completely devoid of humans, to me this is a positive thing.

The film was whizzed off to the lab, processed and my scans we-transferred. I was very impressed with this lens, the detail is extraordinary when images are viewed as A3 prints. The combination of Zeiss 35mm lens, Kodak T-Max 400, Fuji Negastar developer and Noritsu scans is a happy one.

You can find more of my content on 35mmc here

You can find more thoughts about the Zeiss 35mm C-Biogon here, more about the M6 here, and T-Max 400 here

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Craig Schroeder
    June 14, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    I use this lens and agree with your comments, completely. Great size characteristics make for nice balance and handling and the optics are as good as it gets. I’ve been 95% black & white in recent years when shooting film but a recent roll of color showed the lens to be first rate in renditions, too. A relative bargain in the world of the best M glass.

    • Reply
      Phil Harrison
      June 15, 2020 at 10:35 am

      My next film will be colour. I found when I used the lens on the M9 or M240 I had to dial down the saturation a little otherwise it was lovely.

  • Reply
    Trevor
    June 14, 2020 at 11:23 pm

    Chad’s clearly scared the shit out of those two hounds.

    • Reply
      Phil Harrison
      June 15, 2020 at 10:33 am

      So it would seem!!

  • Reply
    Taffy
    June 15, 2020 at 8:36 am

    I have this lens and I’m pretty happy with it especially with the size and quality – I’ve used it on the M8 and the M10. It keeps the camera compact and I do like the handling. It also has the 3D vibe I like a lot. My other 35 is a Nokton Classic which is even smaller and gives me a different result but pleasing to me nonetheless.

    • Reply
      Phil Harrison
      June 15, 2020 at 10:37 am

      I partnered this lens with the Zeiss 50mm f2 Planar when I have the M9 and M240. Another wonderful Zeiss lens.

      • Reply
        Trevor
        June 15, 2020 at 11:26 am

        I have this same 35 on an M4 – ooooff!

      • Reply
        Taffy
        June 15, 2020 at 2:49 pm

        I have the ZM 50 too and I agree 100%. The lens shade fits the Biogon and the Nokton Classic. Really convenient!

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